Most of us living in the Western hemisphere associate the Ginkgo Biloba and its herbal extract with Chinese Medicine, and the lore that follows its health and life-giving properties. However, the extract of this Chinese herb has been studied extensively in the West, mostly in Germany and France, since the late 1970s and early 1980s and has confirmed that it does indeed offer a host of miraculous benefits for the human body. It appears that traditional Chinese doctors were not lying when they touted Ginkgo as the “Ancient Tree of Longevity.” Live long and prosper with this ancient herb, and discover how it benefits the human body now.
Improves Asthma And COPD Symptoms
Regarding treating Asthma, Ginkgo has produced the following two positive results in randomized tests: reduction in hyper-responsiveness of the bronchial airways and a reduction in bronchial spasms. In one particular study, Asthma patients who used high doses of Ginkgo extract showed a ten to fifteen percent improvement in FEVI, a measure of exhalation. Other studies have shown similar results as well as the overall reduction of lung cell inflammation of those suffering from Asthma.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients can also derive various benefits from Ginkgo supplementation since Ginkgo contains anti-inflammatory properties such as ginkgolide B. Ginkgolide B helps to relieve the symptom of obstructive airways caused by COPD, specifically its most dangerous component, platelet-activating Factor (PAF), which can lead to life-threatening bronchoconstriction.
Inflammation, in and of itself, is not inherently dangerous as it is the body’s natural response to injuries and infections. However, in the case of chronic diseases, which causes an inflammatory response from the body, can still damage the body's DNA cells as well as human tissues. In recent studies, Ginkgo has shown the ability to reduce inflammation produced by arthritis, irritable bowel disease (IBD), stroke, heart disease, and cancer. Other studies have shown promising results when it comes to Ginkgo's anti-inflammatory benefits in the areas of vascular inflammation, specifically in patients living with diabetes who have vascular complications due to the disease.
What is more, patients who are currently on dialysis can also supplement with Ginkgo extract in order to get inflammatory relief, as the herb can inhibit the inflammatory producing TNF alpha-induced NF-kb gene production at the deepest cellular level. While most of the anti-inflammatory studies pertaining to Ginkgo have focused on chronic diseases, other inflammatory problems such as allergies and infections that relate to the skin can also be improved by supplementing with Ginkgo. In this case, Ginkgo is usually formulated into a topical solution and mixed with other anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger to reduce swelling on and within the skin.
Improves Brain Function And Reduces Anxiety & Depression
Perhaps the most well-researched aspect of Ginkgo and its benefits towards human health come in the way of brain health, specifically improvements in cognitive function and memory, as well as a reduction in mental diseases and disorders such as dementia, depression, and Alzheimer’s. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ginkgo has already been used by allopathic doctors in Europe to medically treat and alleviate dementia. Originally, European doctors used it because of its ability to improve circulation to the brain, but since then have discovered numerous other cognitive benefits including the ability to protect and even regenerate damaged nerve cells.
Ginkgo's ability to improve cognitive functioning, enhance memory and reduce cognitive debilitating diseases is primarily associated with its ability to improve blood circulation to the brain. Medical researchers discovered in 2007 that certain compounds extracted from the leaves of Ginkgo Biloba could alleviate depression and anxiety, as well as reduce the stress-related damage done to the brain because of these disorders. Thus, Ginkgo not only helps human beings to build a better working brain and stave of mentally disabling diseases but also can improve and reduce the symptoms of psychological disorders like depression and anxiety.
Improves Circulation And Heart Health
Ginkgo contains compounds called terpenoids, which have been shown to dilate blood vessels, reduce adhesive qualities in platelets, and increase circulation to the brain, heart, and peripheral areas of the body. It is this ability to open micro-circulatory pathways in the human body which gives it its broad range of health benefits. Of particular interest was one study that measured the effects of a Ginkgo supplementation on patients with heart disease. It was observed that the supplement almost immediately increased blood flow to almost all areas of the body and increased Nitric Oxide production, a compound that dilates blood vessels, by twelve percent.
Similar studies have also reported Ginkgo’s ability to open up capillaries throughout the body, even those which have been closed and unused for years. As a side benefit of increased circulation, many of the patients in these studies also improved their white blood cell markers, which had a positive effect on their immune system. Among the above-listed benefits, Ginkgo has also been reported to produce additional benefits pertaining to the heart and circulatory health, namely a reduction in vascular permeability, relaxation of vascular muscles, decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure, increase in fasting plasma insulin and a decrease in cortisol secretion.
Improves Vision And Eye Health
As Ginkgo has the ability to open up the circulatory system in the human body and promote healthy blood flow therein, it is also conducive for those looking to protect and promote their vision and overall eye health. While increased circulation to and from the eyes in and of itself promotes healthy vision, there are at least three other known benefits specific to Ginkgo that help increase eye health and reduce eye disorders. Specifically, Ginkgo has the ability to block enzymatic pathways caused by high blood glucose (especially conducive to those suffering from cataracts), inhibit free radicals known to cause various eye diseases, and eliminate pathogens within the eye cells and tissues. What is more, Ginkgo has also shown that it can either alleviate or improve the conditions of macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma once the disease has established itself within the eye.
Again, many of the health benefits Ginkgo provides the eyes stems from its antioxidant and circulatory enhancing properties and compounds. What is more, supplementing with Ginkgo extract has also proven to reduce the harmful effects of excessive exposure to UV rays produced by the sun, which can cause irreparable damage to the eyes as well as promote the eye disorders listed above.